Earlier this week, the UK government’s announcement about UK artists touring in the EU, post-Brexit, was greeted with a mixed response. Today there’s slightly rosier, but similarly varied, levels of enthusiasm for the news that live events and festivals in the UK will be protected by a government-backed insurance scheme if Covid forces them to cancel their event.
Events companies can purchase cover starting next month, and if events are forced to cancel, they must pay “an agreed excess” – after which the government will cover between 95% and 100% of costs (with insurers making up the remainder).
Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, Chief Executive of UK Music – the body funded by, and representing, the British music industry – was quoted in the government’s announcement, calling it “incredibly welcome news”, especially for “the tens of thousands of musicians, crew members and wider supply chain workers whose jobs depend on continued live activity.”
Michael Kill, CEO, of The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), that represents the UK’s nightclubs, festival, and live music event operators (as well as bars, restaurants and others) gave a slightly more muted response, offering strong praise for the action, but also saying that “it is devastating that the timings of this scheme could not have been earlier, as we have already lost many amazing festivals and events to the uncertainty that this pandemic represents”.
The scheme is of course a political hot potato (the opposition Labour party described the scheme as “a solution that doesn’t address the problem”) – and remains a cause for some anxiety for those working in live events: the NTIA’s figures show that over 700,000 people work within this industry sector in the UK.